Zehnder Communications, Inc.

Your company’s brand activations are about to change. Here’s why.

Have you grown comfortable with activations that promote your brand? It’s still a relevant tactic, but the landscape is shifting. Companies are moving to occasion-based marketing, and it’s tailor-made for activations.

The idea of occasion-based marketing isn’t new, and it could be defined any number of ways. For our purposes, it’s an event that taps into your customers’ feelings and desires. Think of a music festival or a high-profile, exclusive party that your company organizes or sponsors.

In this case, however, the event has to generate an emotional response that’s authentic and positive. Those who attend, both customers and influencers, associate those emotions with your brand.

As Fortune magazine recently reported, liquor brands have been among the best at occasion-based. Stella Artois recently organized an exclusive party that included a performance by The Roots. Macallan Scotch Whisky took reporters on a helicopter ride. Zehnder used similar techniques in our social media work with a certain infamous cinnamon-flavored whisky.

Why go through all the trouble instead of just buying some ads? Because millennials ‒ the future of your company ‒ tend to value experiences more than material things. They don’t make purchases based on traditional brand loyalty, so companies need new ways to connect their brand to audiences through an active experience.

It might seem foreign to older generations, but millennials would rather take a picture in front of the Eiffel Tower or Stonehenge to get 200 likes on an Instagram post than buy a house or a new car. That’s a bit of an exaggeration, but it demonstrates younger consumers’ different frame of mind.

The key is authenticity. Occasion-based events and activations are less about your own brand and more about the kind of activity you make possible. That doesn’t mean you can’t display your logo during the event, but the focus must be a meaningful experience.

Zehnder’s experience with major events ‒ the Farmers Insurance Open golf tournament, fundraising events for the Emeril Lagasse Foundation, Mobile World Congress gatherings in the United States and Europe, and the annual CES consumer technology trade show in Las Vegas, am
ong them ‒ has shown us firsthand that with the right kind of planning and attention to detail, occasion-based events reinforce your brand values and build engagement.



Zehnder uses what we call the BDA approach ‒ before, during and after. As an integrated agency, our activations are all-hands-on-deck exercises. In addition to people on the ground during the event, our digital team constantly monitors the online conversation. We can reinforce your participation with a well-timed paid media campaign. And our PR team arranges coverage with publications and influencers who resonate among your various audiences.

No activation is complete without post-event reporting. Zehnder’s internal research and analytics team harvests crucial metrics throughout the event. We see what worked and what didn’t. We know which posts ignited the audience, changed people’s perception or moved them to take action. We can demonstrate how results matched with overall goals, so your company has a head start on the next activation.


What kinds of occasion-based events are right for your company? Talk to Zehnder about getting the most value from your social media. Reach out to Jen Boneno at or 225.448.0756 for more information. 



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